Alabama Shakes are the hip new buzz band. Their debut record, Boys And Girls, dropped this month and they are living well, having landed an opening slot for Jack White. Their music is vintage soul reminiscent of the classics that came out of Muscle Shoals back in the late sixties. The singer Brittany Howard has a powerhouse voice that is one part Janis Joplin and one part Amy Winehouse. The band plays tight and dirty. On the whole the record is good, however, they don’t really bring anything new to the table. They do a sound job of recreating southern soul, but they haven’t quite figured out how to make it their own. Most of the songs are slowing grooving or mid-tempo. The music is very likeable, especially with the opening song and single “Hold On” and Black Keys-esque “Heartbreaker”. However, nothing really “shakes” until the bonus track “Heavy Chevy” rolls along. The tune is hands down the best thing on the album. It’s an all-round great blood-boiling rock and roll song complete with slamming pianos, and an explosive Keith Richards-style guitar solo at the end; plus, Brittany Howard howls like a female Little Richard. Boys And Girls would be a better album was more music in the vein of “Heavy Chevy”. In the end, Alabama Shakes are a good band with great potential. Let’s see what they do with it.
Essential tracks: “Heavy Chevy” “Hold On”